Tasmania's federal MPs and senators spent nearly $13,000 on flags in the first three months of this year, according to new parliamentary expenditure figures.
Under the Constituent Request Program, federal parliamentarians are encouraged to stock up on Australian flags, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags, which their constituents - including community groups and sports clubs - are entitled to claim free of charge.
People can also request nationhood materials, such as portraits of Queen Elizabeth II and CD and DVD recordings of the Australian national anthem, from their local members
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In the January-March 2020 reporting period, Tasmania's federal politicians spent $12,971.01 on flags - almost double what they spent in the same period last year. The types of flags purchased are not specified in the reports, published by the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority.
Braddon Liberal MHR Gavin Pearce forked out the most cash for flags, buying $4324.01 worth of them between December 1-December 31 last year. Mr Pearce was contacted for comment.
Northern-based Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson spent $2651 on Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags between January 1-31. Senator Whish-Wilson's office has a supply of the three different flags to distribute to organisations and individuals.
In the past six months, his office has presented 12 flags to constituents, 10 of which were Aboriginal flags.
"The fact that we have given out more Aboriginal flags in recent times I hope is a good sign of community recognition and reconciliation, momentum towards changing the date [of Australia Day] and treaty," Senator Whish-Wilson said.
"I still have photos of the Queen available if the public are interested. I ordered them expecting demand but so far no one has wanted one."
Other politicians who spent more than $1000 on flags between January and March were Lyons Labor MHR Brian Mitchell ($1719) and Liberal senator Eric Abetz ($1057.50).
According to the federal Finance Department website, members are able to buy flags, flag lapel pins and documents "related to nationhood" and "of kinds approved by the [Finance] Minister]" to present to organisations or interested constituents. The money comes out of their annual budget for office expenses.